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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 25, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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the world. and for me it was a choice that i had to make. it was a personal choice that i had to make. i knew i had support. friends would come into my room on a daily basis singing christian songs. i know doctors thought our room was creepy because balloons would be coming out, i thought the room was huge. apparently, it was like a little match boxcar. but it was that support. but again, it still came back to me. i was the one that had to make a choice. i was the one that had to choose to make a difference. my company commander called me wasy other d to .. doing. we were awesome friends. my brigade commander would call me every week to see how i was doing. something that doesn't normally happen in an organization, to have the top leadership call you to see how you're doing? the support that i had was amazing, was awesome. and people like toby keith, country singer, gary sinise, the actor, generals, three-star,
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four-star would come in and try to see me and i'd say, no, no thank you. and one day my wife said, scotty, andrew wants to see you. she didn't say who it was, but something hit me. it was andrew harris, the boy who i had taught sunday school with three years earlier had driven down from west point, new york, with his dad to come and see me. and i don't know if i knew that day or in the days to come that the impact that i had made on
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for putting this wonderful evening together. we are going to dive right in here. former alaska senator ted stevens promised -- [applause] he promised not one drop of oil would be spilled into prince william town. not one drop is the title of my book and it is about the trail and courage in the wake of the exxon valdez spill. this spans 40 years. of a really the end of this story is the beginning of another, and it's one that i hope we all worked together on to finish. my goddaughter was 4-years-old
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on march 24th, 1989 when the exxon valdez ran aground in prince william sound. ten years later, when she was 14, she composed this song that you are about to hear for the memorial. ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ we realize what the exxon means ♪
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>> cordova sits on the eastern side of prince william sound. the community was ground zero for the exxon valdez oil spill. cordova is a fishing town, half its population of 2500 people is directly involved in the commercial fishing industry. a boat captains, fishermen, processors, this house supports the other half, the businesses, the grocery stores, hotels, restaurants. when the fishing harvest is good, the entire town prospers. i arrived in cordova in 1985 with no intention of staying. i was going to take the summer off. but i fell in love with the town and the lifestyle and i decided to stay. to repay our good fortune from the sea i joined the fishermen's union and i put my academic
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training to use on leal issues and politics. in cordova it is more than about money, it's about a lifestyle. families fish together and it's about having a set of values and a way of living on to our children. at the very young age cordova is also a native village, and the native people practice a subsistent culture where the harvest, share and celebrate wild food. this tradition, this way of living is also passed on to their shoulders and -- their children. on march 24th, things changed. the fishermen flu over to be their allies in the sky, and this is actually what i saw and i was shocked and traumatized
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and went to valdez and i remember having this question popped into my mind. do i care enough? in the space of a blank i was back in wisconsin where i grew up and i was 15-years-old again and at 13, in the late 60's the robins were falling out of trees dying. and even when you are a kid you know there's something wrong when the birds are falling out of trees so who do you go to? why is this happening? and dad can fix it all, right? he put the dying bird in my hand and explained then he gave me rachel carson's book silent spring. i read the book at 14 and i decided i was going to become a marine biologist. it turns out there was a much
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deeper lesson that i didn't understand until years later. my father went on to sue the state of wisconsin over the use of ddt. they gathered friends in the problem solved and this is what they came up with. wisconsin was the first state to ban ddt. the rest of the nation followed in 1972 when i left for college, and with that gave me was a way of living in the world, reindell use. if something is wrong how you step up and fixed it. having realized that, another on a blanket and i am back on the shore facing my ddt, the nation's largest oil spill somewhere between the 11 million space below and for 38 million investment. to some of you i notice in the audience were born after this spells when going to refresh
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everybody's memory and just say this was caused by many things the most tragic was that there was a relapsed alcoholic at the helm of a supertanker. it killed more wildlife than any other still to this the in the world. we're talking half a million sea birds, five selzer verso sea otters, whales, seals, billions of fish. the scientists said there were only be short-term harm. on the fourth day of this bill, a storm came out and blew the oil out of prince william sound. it's distant as far as 12 miles from plight and pact about 3200 miles of coast guard and in between. if this bill had been opposed on the west coast of the united states it would have gone from the top of washington state all the way down to san diego were. this was huge.
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and what i have to say about the $2.5 billion cleanup, the tax write-off is that it didn't work and in the initial days that it mattered to get the oil off the water the fishermen picked up more oil in the bucket than exxon did. and because of the failed initial cleanup, half of the oil that spilled from the beaches of prince william sound, and a lot of it is still there. this is with the beaches look like today and this is from 2006. i take high school students out now to the beaches and maybe 6 inches, a foot and focus on the lower right-hand corner, this is what happens. they get upset -- dig a pit.
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>> [inaudible] >> this is 17 years after the exxon valdez grounded. this left a toxic legacy on the beaches. back we go now to 1989. the scientists are telling us it would only be short-term harm but the fishermen worried about that and the native people because we knew that the salmon and the hearing spawned in prince william sound that is to say right on these beaches and after the eggs hatch the young herring and salmon grow up and mature in visa with nursery bays and we wondered what the eggs and the young fish survive in 1989. we had to wait for a life cycle and wait to see if the fish survived, if they grew up, came
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back to reproduce. we didn't know. we found out in 1992 that was the year of the first pink salmon failure followed in 1993 by the second .7 failure and also the herring field and we figured this was because the fish hadn't survived were those that had couldn't reproduce. so what we did because the scientists were still saying you're going to anticipate short-term harm was we blockaded. this is the geographic bottleneck of prince william sound and to bring attention to the sound, it wasn't just the fish, the birds, mammals thought it was sick. to bring attention we help the nations will traffic. 25% of the nation's domestic oil at the time. this was an act of collective community disobedience and i could go on for stories about
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this, but i won't. what we were demanding was funding for ecosystem studies and no penalties for our actions and president clinton said that doesn't seem too unreasonable so he granted and we disbanded the blockade. this scale hadn't been done before. so i'm going to fast forward for about two years of research and some hundred, several hundred scientific papers to say that the ecosystem studies that were conducted pretty much found that the problems centered on the beaches. there's about 55 tons of wiltz remaining on the beaches if this is this bill it would make national media. this buried at leal is the source of the earlier during her recovery and harm to wildlife including fresh. oil is more toxic than we
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thought. for example, scientists found that low levels of oil kill fish eggs and embryos and stunts the growth of wildlife, fish and like the black oystercatcher. i'm talking about levels of all fielder currently running off the streets and into our urban coastal waterways. that's the level. the same levels of oil also disrupt function. in the river otter what happened is the polycyclic automatic error fraction of oil is disruptive to symphysis of the pigment enzyme so it couldn't carry oxygen efficiently and catch swimming pray. oil suppressed the immune system
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of people as well but we are talking about annals right now. in particular the system of hearing. this is in part with contributed to the population collapse in 1993. the other half of that equation is that they didn't survive in 1989 house. the problem with a hearing is that it's the basic officious and you take out the hearing and leave a big hole in the there is nothing for the sea lions to eat. so what we're seeing in prince william sound is the delayed recovery. only eight species have recovered so far and we are talking like 20 years later. so in cordova we say it will recover when the hearing recovers. what's happened here is the result of the ecosystem studies that there was the new
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understanding of science, and that new understanding -- this is going to be one of those moments for most of you. but in the 1970's a lot of the science was done in the lab. sterile conditions, experiments, beakers, single species, usually adult animals focused on the different fraction of oil, not the polycyclic. so of course scientists thought there would only be short-term harm. what do you think with your only looking for four days. and what we have is a shiftless of the ecosystem studies looking at animals in relation to the habitat, generation, young cold, and this gave a much more realistic image to the effect of oil and as a result of this scientists understand that it's toxic around ten to 20 parts per billion than we thought 30 years
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ago when the clean air act and the clean water act passed. what i'm saying is we have new science still an old laws. but while the ecosystem studies were going on the, on a received lots of phone calls from cleanup workers and after the cleanup was over there were four mur cleanup workers and i still receiving phone calls from people to this day they sound like darth vader on the phone with that breathing and it took me 12 years to figure out what happened to these people. through the court records and interviews with lawyers and medical doctors, cleanup workers themselves and would ultimately we collectively pieced together is this high pressure wash hit the beach with such force that it bounced baliles into the air and people breveted jim, these
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polycyclic carbons. when you are seeing on people's range here is what was actually in their lungs. exxon did not report any respiratory illness problems to the federal government. clean-up workers comprise a total of 6,722 claims none of which are reported to the federal or state officials and i guess what i would like to say about this is bringing the story to you i've had my phone tapped twice and thrown in jail once, but the story will come out. let's advance to 1999, ten years after this bill and at this point in time the environmental protection agency had enough information from medical doctors and the wildlife biologists to decide that khalil who really is toxic, and what was killing the
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sea otters and the other wild life causing the problems is the same compounds the oil particulates that gave the cleanup workers occupational asthma and they're the same compound is coming out of the tailpipes of our automobiles at levels we now know cause asthma in and children and that's not all. cancer in adults come heart attacks, premature death, often briefing urban air. lovell's the federal government thinks are safe are not. >> so, this gives a whole nother spin to the climate crisis. oil is more toxic than we thought. we need to get our oil, but as al gore said, we cannot solve
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the climate crisis until we solve the democracy crisis. so it turns out in cordova we have had firsthand experience in the democracy crisis, and let's take a look first now a private damages litigation from the exxon valdez spill because this was sort of our introduction to the democracy is at folk functioning as we think. this was taken in our high school gym four days after the oil spill when the spokesperson came to the community and promised to make us whole. the legal system failed to deliver on this promise. [inaudible conversations] >> you have had good luck and you don't realize at. you have exxon and we do
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business straight three we will consider whatever it takes to keep you cool. what have you lost at this point? that we can take care of if you can show. is it going to take 20 years to settle the claims? i guarantee we have never had a claim her go that long but claims will be settled promptly. they don't have a thing to worry about. >> exxon must have thought of our claims or unreasonable because i'm going to give a quick time line here. they fought every single claim in court. the first five years after the spill exxon managed to get thousands of claims dismissed. the hotels, then on the fishing businesses, the grocery stores,
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the recreation businesses. and this is because the legal case into federal court and into the maritime. in 1994 came along and a federal jury issued a punitive damage award of $5 billion, and punitive damage here and the jury thinking was an amount of money that would deter their behavior. if this had been sufficient 5 billion, exxon would have been the first corporation to double its tankers rather than the last. the jury also gave us compensatory damages for very short term harm because remember this audience didn't come for ten years after the trial. so, exxon decided this was an unjust verdict and would use every legal means to fight which
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it did for the next 14 years exxon appealed the case. in the and finally the supreme court june 25th ruled to reduce by 90% to $507 million. now that is the short version. let's put some faces on this for you. his individual share of the award won't even cover his bankruptcy proceedings. most people figure the punitive award will be about seven to 10% of what we have actually lost. cui to put another human face on it. this is the o'toole family. this is her brother. when she was 2-years-old before this bill their parents invested life savings of $300,000 on a
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permit, a limited license entry license to fish in prince william sound. the time permits were on the high balance. this was a record high price like buying a home there is an annual payment and in theory the fisheries support the annual payment. after the exxon fell these oil spill overnight the permit devalue the did $100,000 the annual payment couldn't be supported because the fishery was largely closed in 1989. when he was seven in 1993, that is when it collapsed, hearing and pink salmon and a permit prices plunged. his parents were lucky to solve a permit $47,000, lucky to incur a quarter of a million dollar debt instead of going bankrupt. the town's economy crashed.
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at 22-years-old he had enough money to buy his way into a fishery. this is when the supreme court cut the award by 90%. prices bottomed out a few years earlier about 90% of what they had originally been worth but reduced by 90%. so while the clarity is that he is fishing his own permit, his father is not because he's not been able to work his way of the debt he occurred and cannot buy his way back into the fishery. there's other things we lost. the fishery is closed indefinitely. we don't know in the population of the hearing will recover. the closure means the annual loss of about $100 million in the fisheries harvest plus economic activity to the town of
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cordova. herring permits were also valued once around $300,000. this is our retirement security. it's gone. but we lost more than money. we lost a way of life. fishing thomas family time. the court called this emotional harm and actually abandon these photographs. novell you could be assigned to emotional harm c'mon economic harm says the court cannot because it wasn't real to us but because the court couldn't put the money value on it. my friend linda, the mother said this is her single biggest loss, precious time with her family because you don't get a deutsch overcome the kids grow up. so she says forget the quarter of a million dollar debt it was the family time together that she lost and she isn't alone
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accounting this as the biggest loss yet distant count in court. she reflected her parents' anxiety what is the cost of a child's security? what ever it was, it didn't count in court. the community of cordova became a case study on disaster. it's now the longest-running study on disasters trauma in the world. sociologists look at what breaks when the community becomes chaotic and dysfunctional and they look at how to heal that. so while we are kind of living it in court of the sociologists are studying at and trying to give you our version of what we experience plus the sociologists and print on it and this is a poll carved by a need of man and cordova. there hasn't been one car for over 200 years.
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it's a traditional way of shaming a person of high standing debt into paying that debt. that didn't work. but meanwhile we had this shame poll and we understand what broke. what broke are the relationships among people, and when the relationships fray and there is a loss of trust you lose the glue, the community unity that holds the society together. sociologists call this a corrosive community when a community terms of myself and is plagued by fighting and this agreement and are giving and the find three things contribute to the corrosive community. these, and treated trauma include untraded trauma. as i am discussing these things come hold in your mind the financial collapse that we've just had. untreated trauma is stress,
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post-traumatic stress disorder and financial hardship because financial hardship as one of the leading contributors to other problems, substance abuse, alcohol, drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide, divorce, the sphere of where are you going to get the money to pay for your home and your kids' college but turns and manifests and makes people do things they normally wouldn't have done. loss of trust is about loss of trust in the system. it's when a corporation or the government makes a promise they don't keep so in our case we expected the oil companies to be able to clean up an oil spill but they couldn't. we expected the government told the companies accountable for this bill but they didn't. we expect to the court system to make household and it didn't. trust is a major component of
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social capital, this networking. litigation to read the third thing was litigation and there is a great irony in this because litigation is the tool of people were injured by an action are given to make themselves whole. get your money from the speller, whoever, and what the sociologists were able to document is that in our society the legal system is an adversarial system and because of the fighting, it doesn't make us whole it actually dishes out a second helping of post-traumatic stress disorder so this and little was the initial trauma. this is confirmed by sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, they are all saying we need to have another look at the system. it isn't doing what it is supposed to be doing.
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so when i was writing not one drop and thinking about the community, what flashed into my mind is this red and blue map of america, corrosive america and it hit me that cordova is like a mirror for the nation. we are a corrosive nation polarized by fighting. when a community is torn and can't agree on things, no forward action as possible, no collective decision making as possible and it seems to me this is kind of where we are at as we are trying to take steps towards energy independence we can't take forward motion. so this is part of the democracy crisis, divided communities, divided nation. in terms of in cordova we came up with a way of healing our community and this is what we would like to share in hopes
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that other communities might also he'll. we learned that change starts with us and it happens when people focus on what we have in common rather than what divides us. we came up with a very simple exercise to identify shared values, build a common vision and to the collective action for the community unity and believe it or not it really is this simple. we called ultimate civics, putting the people back into the democracy to recall the meeting committed social, have food. at some point in all the festivities, ask people to sit around a table, 12, 15 people and give everybody a piece of paper and pencil have them write the answer to this question but what do you like about your community. you can put church, school, work place, but what do you like?
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and only three minutes because then you get people coming from the gut, not the head. next you know your open gun control and abortion and everybody goes like this city want the gut level things what is a thing you really like then you sit around one at a time somebody takes notes and you make a list and pretty soon you start coming up with check marks of things people say the same over and over and pretty soon you have the list. we have a lot in common so then you go to the next question what would you like to be different in 20 years, think, three minutes, share the results, kickoff the answers. last question, what steps would you take to make these changes then you end up with a prioritized list for election and you have a bye and from everybody in the community nobody is going to torpedo it and you can actually start
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moving ahead. i can't emphasize it but this really does work and if you come across something you have trouble agreeing on, agreed to disagree and put it off the table for now. i've done this exercise across america. i've been on the book tour for three months and sometimes i actually do this exercise and what people tell you are safe neighborhoods, affordable health care, quality family time, affordable homes, living wages, retirement security and healthy affordable food and clean air and water, top level stuff. the first three things are more about social capital or social welfare them about money. if you have the choice to live in a safe or unsafe neighborhood for your job that didn't matter what would you choose? there is no money attached to that. that is a quality-of-life decision. middelkerke three things, affordable homes, living wages
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and retirement security. everybody wants a home. these are things that everybody wants. this is about economic wealth. about environmental wealth. if you had a choice wouldn't you rather have tap water that's going to be okay to drink? so i came to realize that this is the same. red, blue, rich, poor, this is what people want. to carry out this exercise one step further, the share value, social and environmental and economic wealth. but as the vision look like across america. simple, okay. people want a sustainable future. they want a living planet and a little ball planet to pass on to the next generation. not so hard to figure out. people want to do that to self-reliant communities and clean save energy.
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on the action side there's lots of steps. i just listed a few of them. really what the action steps are about is bringing in things back to the regional banking, regional food, regional energy, making self-reliant communities again instead of reaching out 1500 miles for our food, bringing it back home. so these are values. and in a dhaka see, human values count. so here are the three forms of wealth. they weave together a basic quality-of-life and living economy. this is how we get to a sustainable future by balancing these things come and we did this exercise in cordova after the collapse in 1993. it was like well, what are we going to do to rebuild our community? and it wasn't just the economic
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things. remember it was a mental health trauma, to delete go too. we formed people to problem solve. after -- 1994 after the blockade, there were five nonprofits formed in the community of cordova all to deal with mental health, economic situations, the science, how are we going to show that the science needs to show the oil, dealing with the oil spill cleanup, it turns out that the sociologists now called fees' was running circles and this is a national model now that is used to limit the capitol loss after the disaster used in katrina. it's about getting people together to shift out of the victim mode and to the survivor mode by working together for the common good. what are the bigger problems
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outside yourself? and in the controlling you outside of yourself you start healing your own trauma. healing communities are only part of a democracy crisis. there is also a fundamental problem with our government. we stumbled on to this problem as our legal stretched out over the decade. people began to ask what is going on, how did corporations get this big where they can manipulate the legal system? i thought was a good question, so i went to look for answers and now we are moving into the last chapter of not one drop which is called the new beginning. to move into this chapter i discovered we have to actually go back in time and recall that our founders envisioned our
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governments at three branches in. a legislature that makes bill law, a judiciary branch that interprets of the law, and an executive branch that enforces the law. over all of this are we the people the ultimate system of checks and balances on our sovereign's of government. this is what we are taught in high school and what we are led to believe we have. however, let's take another look because i don't believe we have this any more. in looking through the literature and what other people have done, i discover that there are two ways to amend the constitution. formally, through the legislature for congress and informally through the federal judiciary come through interpretation of the law and what happened was in 86 we lost
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we the people and the federal judiciary created corporate persons in other words, pieces of paper, property are now people in my eyes of law with exactly the same right that we have as people. this was never intended by our founders. you're not going to see the word anywhere in the bill of rights or the amendment. what this has allowed is an avenue of consolidation of wealth and power through the corporation form that is destroying the republican. what we have this huge sums of money flowing down and influencing the legislature and influencing our elections and policy makers huge sums of money flowing down by judges who tend to be a lot of corporate judges
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and i would like to think of these judges in three of four judges i think that haven't even been on trial lawyers so they sort of remind me of scientists in the lab. they've never really tested the theory in the field. but anyway so the money is flowing down and influencing the judges, the corporate judges and it's also influencing, diminishing the enforcement capabilities of our government officials. systems of checks and balances then destroyed. this power is what lies at the heart of the globalization and a lot of the others undermining our sovereign self-government. for example, the campaign finance abuse, this is the first amendment right, this is what happens when corporations took the first amendment. this is when speech was equated
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with money. i'm sorry but if you have a lot of money you have a lot more speech so you kind of lost the equality of environmental abuse warrantless searches how will you catch a polluter or meat packer was somebody's ululating will all if the corporations can demand that the officials have a warrant before they come? so these are the examples that have happened with this corporate person usurping our rights. as of the dysfunctional legal system i thought was the problem it turns out as in the problem. it's a symptom of a larger problem which is that corporate persons have taken over their republican. by the way committees are banners that we made in cordova
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on june 25th in the decision. you will see a couple more in the second. for example, the underlying assumptions underpinning our legal system are no longer valid. equal treatment under the law, this isn't possible when those with money use it to influence public policy, public perception and manipulate and the decisions to make the decisions moot. that $507 billion is now four days of net profit. right to a speedy trial. it took us five years to even get to court. this is a sixth amendment right guaranteed to people, because even over 200 years ago people understood that justice delayed is justice denied. 1994 we had three fish collapses, bankruptcy, suicide and we hadn't even gone to court
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yet. impartial judges, again, corporate judges it's just not possible with this much money flowing into the court system and i am referring to the case of a lower court in the ninth circuit on the judicial sponsors by exxon. whole truth? the jury much to my surprise doesn't get the whole truth. they get with the lawyers agree the jury will have, so in our case, for example the jury didn't even know that exxon didn't have a driver's license for driving while intoxicated but he was at the helm of the supertanker. so if the german defeat could jury isn't privy to the truth how will they figured out the whole compensation? they will not. in our case they didn't know about long-term harm to be on the got compensated for
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short-term. here's the problem. this is the other problem in the democracy crisis. we don't live in a democracy, this is the polite thing i can call it to read the corporate values count, and by a federal judiciary the only corporate value that needs to matter by the law is making money, and this is fine for running a business, but it's not fine for running a country. remember when the general motors ceo said what is good for general motors is good for america? we believe that. it's a good for america is good for general motors. our quality-of-life encompasses more than just economic wealth. so the problem here with looking
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at the value of money changing her as a measure of prosperity is that this drives the suicide economy -- sorry contrives the suicide economy that fuels an exchange of money is not attached to value. it's simply money exchanging hands. so this is fuelled by things like oil, the war and a disaster capitalism. i mean, halliburton, these are making money on disasters. more intense and frequent natural disasters by global climate change. cancer, asthma, heart attacks, other illnesses divorce mortgage loans, all sorts of similar
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problems where money exchanges hands but there's no continent exchange. quality-of-life plummet and the corporations grow. succumb here we are, democracy crisis. we are facing a huge problem. we have some very critical decisions to make. we need to move forward as a nation that we are handicapped. our communities are divided and we have lost control of our democracy. so i fell back at this point on teachings by my father. what do you do? you get the people together. so i believe that we as a nation know enough about global climate change and about leal as being toxic to make a difference. the issue is do we care enough, and i believe that we do. so what i would like to propose are the two steps we need to take up the national level to help solve the results of a
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democracy crisis. first, we need to overturn the case. this is more than about oil spill. this affects every community in america. but the supreme court judges did is they put an attack on the punitive damages and on punishment. we do not have a cap on corporate growth. this means punishment will no longer fit these large corporations. it can't. as we've lost our ability to hold these corporations accountable to work with safety laws, a consumer product law, public health, environmental law. the issue is what do we connect punishment to profits or damages. in the exxon valdez case i mentioned $507 million. it's not going to work. so here is where we can call congress and the people of trompe wally, we won the case overturned, we want congress to
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set punitive damages, not the judges. judges are not supposed to be making law and the second thing we need to do is we need to strip the corporations of personhood and pass the 28th amendment to the constitution's separation of corporation and state for the same reason that we separated church and state. churches are bad, but because this is an avenue of the consolidation of wealth and power that will destroy the republic and if you think about it this way, but we found in the country we made a little mistake and people with property took a couple popular uprisings, driving a few amendments into the constitution civil rights amendment to fix that and now the pendulum has swung and property is people. what it's going to take to correct that and get all of our amendments back to us, the people come is bringing that back and say no, property is
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property. did the corporation out of the state. we need to do this because other presidents have warned what will happen if we don't. franklin delano roosevelt warned the liberty of a democracy is not safe it people top delete to tolerate the growth to the point it becomes greater than the democratic state itself. that in its essence is fascism. if we want to pass a livable planet onto our children and it's time to work together to resolve our problems. this land is your land, this land is my land. let's put the ultimate six back in our democracy. thank you very much. [applause]
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the world is a big place but certainly the most powerful are the huge corporations, corporations like goldman sachs for instance because i spent so much of my life in the developing world places like africa, latin america and the middle east to give you a small example. i saw what happened when commodity futures were bought up by corporations like goldman sachs and it has in the last year increased by 100%. i saw the human consequences of that the children that were
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malnourished and even in some cases died of starvation because they couldn't afford to eat. the war in both iraq and afghanistan are little support and yet for a handful of corporations lockheed martin, northrup grumman, halliburton are immensely profitable as the war is through a segment and always has been. so, i think that we -- unfortunately a power words become centralized in the hands of a select group of corporations that are more powerful in the state itself. it is with the american political system to vote against the interest of goldman sachs and unless we thwart that power, we are doomed because corporations, unfettered
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capitalism wrote a great book about this in 1944 called the great transformation turn everything into a commodity. under capitalism is a revolutionary force. human beings become commodities, the world become a commodity that you exploit until exhaustion or collapse and that's why the environmental crisis is intimately twinned with the economic crisis and if we don't somehow find a mechanism or a way to break the power of the corporations they will continue to trash the ecosystem to the point at which wife or a huge segments of the human species will be unsustainable. >> chris hedges e-mails and to you from new york city to use in today's economic and political climate as somewhat resembling that which exists in germany during the 1930's? >> he's made that comparison.
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in some ways, yes but it's always difficult to make the historical analogies because one has to be very cognizant of the major differences including the massive war reparations and the defeat of will or one of the fact that germany had no tradition of the liberal democracy under its marquee -- marchi but i think that there are some frightening similarities, the most important being of the american working class. the disenfranchisement of working men and women use to be in this country going back to the fifties into the 60's you could work in an auto plant or steel mills and make a salary that would actively support a family and allow you to buy a small house and send your kids to college and you have medical benefits and a pension plan and all of that is finished that we
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have thrust our working class into the service sector economy, low-wage economy households only to people tend to work at the working class more than one shot but almost everybody in the house is working to keep afloat and that has been a devastating change. and i think one of the rises of the christian right is directly linked to this despair, because of the economic dislocation spring without the distractions of communities and families, substance abuse, domestic abuse, all of the problems with the communities break down, and people retreat from this whirled which frankly almost destroys them or has destroyed them in to them on reality based belief system and the totalitarian systems are not reality based systems, a world of magic and historical inevitability of the world where god intervenes on their behalf, and i think the only way to bring these people
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back into the reality based world is to free in franchise than in their economy, and i think this is something that we saw that was despair on the totalitarianism, karl popper, fritz stern used despair as the starting point to drive people into these very frightening movements, and i think that this bear is prevalent within american society and very dangerous. >> in the 2005 book closing moses on the freeway, the mr. hedges rights half we watch passively as the wealthy and the elite, the corporation's rall auslin the environment to fraud consumers and taxpayers and create an exclusive american oligarchy that uses wealth and political power we watch because we believe we can enter the club is grease that keeps silent.
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good afternoon. >> i want to thank you for your thoughts and your look. they are very deep and they really open many of our minds to the important concept. and you try at least from my observation to present a lot of deep thought and objective reality. i was troubled when you talk about the middle east because you talk about your history in terms of the people there but i was wondering also of if you had an equal knowledge of the people on that side. snyder lived in jerusalem for two years. the was a conscious decision because in the middle east to be working in syria for baghdad and speak arabic or have hebrew words creep into your arabic could land you in prison although i have to say that
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eventually i in both iraq and iran i was thrown in prison any way were jailed for brief periods of time. i have a great admiration and affection for israel and i think that dhaka parameters of the deily about the middle east and about the israeli-palestinian conflict far broader than they are in the united states. my opinions are not particularly controversial in jerusalem on most of my friends to sort of go on for themselves and poured another beer. for instance the israeli newspaper i think has probably the best coverage of the palestinians of any paper in the country and all these articles written by the israeli jews, danny rubenstein, these are
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great journalists hot and to israel credit. the frustration for many of us old middle east hands is that we saw possibilities in oslo and the relationship between king hussein, and i knew him and with the assassination we watched that hope essentially vanished and israel at the united states has become captive to the rapacious right wing. for instance the foreign minister and has called for the ethnic cleansing of is really arabs and palestinians this was unthinkable when i first got to jerusalem in 1988, and for me it is a debate

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